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Embracing Limitations

March 5, 2019

I love this space — this little piece of the interwebs occupied by my blog. And for the past several months, I’ve posted less here and have really missed it. I’ve certainly missed the chance to regularly share things that bring me joy and to connect with you all. I’ve also missed using this space to keep record of some of life’s precious moments.

But I had a baby. A second baby, at that. And adjusting to life with two small kids was not easy. There were many nights when I would sit down to write or edit photos, and the desire for sleep overpowered all of my ambitions. Pushing through the fatigue — though it would allow me to be present here — felt like it would have been detrimental to my physical and mental health, my marriage, and my ability to enjoy my new phase of motherhood.

It also felt like it would have been inauthentic — something I strive for this blog not to be, because for goodness sake, we all know there’s already plenty of that on the internet. How could I devote hours to this space, when I was barely keeping up on text messages and phone calls with my closest family and friends?

So I couldn’t do this thing that I loved and wanted to do very badly.

And this was hard. For months, I’ve had so many ideas swirling around in my head, and to not get to bring them to life was really frustrating. And there were times when I looked around, and it felt like I must be the only person who couldn’t figure out how to do all the things — the relationship stuff, the parenting stuff, the friend stuff, the daughter stuff, the professional stuff, the life maintenance stuff.

These days, I think those of us living in the Western world are consistently fed a narrative that all the things we want are attainable. We just need to grit our teeth, grind it out, get organized, and stay consistent. Most of us are focused on producing more, achieving more, getting more efficient. We’re striving for bigger, better, faster, stronger. We hate limits.

And while I think it’s true that hard work and determination generally breed results, it seems the part people tend to leave out of this “go hard” narrative is — to what end?¬†It’s incredibly easy and intoxicating to get caught up on the achievements, the growth, the accolades, all while failing to recognize that in life, there are always trade-offs. And that all of us were created with limits.

A few months ago I read a book called Liturgy of the Ordinary by Tish Harrison Warren, and she puts it this way:

“…Every evening, whether we like it or not, we must admit again that we are not unlimited. Our bodies get tired. Our efforts prove futile. We are needy. Yielding to sleep confesses this reality: a confession that is countercultural and revolutionary. We are not sufficient; we need a caretaker.”

What if we did the countercultural thing and embraced our limitations? For me, this has meant needing to let go of my fears that if I took a break from being in this space that people¬†would stop wanting to hear from me. (You know, that whole “out of sight, out of mind” thing.) For me, it has meant pushing through the resistance I feel in trying to get back in the groove after falling out of the rhythm of writing regularly.

But for me, embracing my limitations has also led me to clarify my priorities — to figure out what I really want to give myself to if I truly am working with limited time, energy, and resources. Embracing my limitations has slowly freed me up from the pressure of needing to produce more and allowed me to enjoy the special season of parenthood that I’m in. And embracing my limits has forced me to test what I say I believe: that God’s will for my life is greater than my greatest efforts.

I’m starting to see how my limits can be for my benefit. And on that note, I’m going to bed.

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  • Reply
    March 5, 2019 at 4:16 pm

    Love this very real concept that we (insert *me*) tend to overlook. Especially us “city-folk” who are living a life of more, more, more. This is a reminder to continue to seek stillness in the midst of it all. Thanks Jess!

    • Reply
      Jessica Rice
      March 6, 2019 at 12:34 pm

      It can be so hard when everything tells us to do the opposite of slowing down/stopping! xoxo

  • Reply
    March 5, 2019 at 6:44 pm

    Great read! I too am suffering from something similar, and it can be extremely difficult to embrace my limitations (because let’s be real, we all don’t like to admit when we have them). Hopefully one day soon I can get back to blogging on a regular basis. Until then, people will get my one every month or two and hopefully appreciate it while I go through this parenting/career/marriage/military life!

    • Reply
      Jessica Rice
      March 6, 2019 at 12:39 pm

      Thanks! Yes, I feel like my default for too long was that I just needed to work harder. And then I had an ‘a-ha moment,’ that maybe what I should do is the opposite — maybe I should do less and trust it will all work out. :-) Love reading your posts, so I think they’re worth the wait.

  • Reply
    March 6, 2019 at 10:47 am

    There’s something so encouraging in the way you recognize the very real and immediately/ostensibly validating high we get off of productivity and achievement – those “wins” can feel so empowering and healing especially for any of us who have struggled with insecurities when it comes to work/intelligence. But dang is it true that these highs don’t last, don’t nourish. And goodness is it true how quickly I forget this. Thank you for inviting us to pause and consider the question, “To what end?” What a small but potent way to pause the tasks and really think about purpose.

    Also, speaking as an avid reader of your blog, there’s no need for you to worry about your editorial schedule; the way you chronicle your stories and experiences is so rich and powerful that it’s totally worth patiently awaiting newer posts.

    • Reply
      Jessica Rice
      March 6, 2019 at 12:57 pm

      Ashley, you are so kind and thoughtful! I’m so glad to connect with your writing as well. Thanks for the encouragement and for reading. :-)

  • Reply
    Chelsey Holmlund
    March 6, 2019 at 6:32 pm

    So, so good! I’ve been constantly reminded lately that everything has a season and each one will be unique – and part of being able to receive (and in turn give) the most joy and love we can is embracing each season as it comes. Praying for you and thank you (as always) for your vulnerability and honesty :)

  • Reply
    March 26, 2019 at 10:05 pm

    I still haven’t FULLY grasped embracing my limitations, but I can say that I am getting much better at doing so. I typically find it hard to do this in my work life because I feel like I’m playing catch up with the new concepts that I need to learn. And this would sometimes spill over into my personal life and leave me too drained to be present to enjoy and exist in the moment I was in. Balance is definitely key, but coupling that with your advice here could produce better results for me.

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